Friday 7 April 2023

Posted by Gerry Hectic | File under : , ,
Well, we all love a rare, private press, white label but even by normal standards of exteme crate digging, this is a super find.

If you can remember 1992, in the UK, Charts included The Brand New Heavies, Tina Turner, Diana Ross but not much in way of male vocals; Simply Red!  So when Rick Clarke decided to made a nine track album with some ladies mostly and drum machines (in their infancy at the time) he clearly had no idea that 30 years on his album of raw street funk/hip hop/go-go house sounds pretty unique!  
Apparently this was never released as he was in-deep contractually with Soul II Soul whose influence is most upfront on 'Gonna Make You Happy' featuring Jill Francis and 'Love Don't Strike Twice' featuring Easton.

Of course, London centric soul at the time was still heavily US influenced and it's heavy on influences like Luther Vandross, Shalamar, Sharon Redd and Street Sounds club culture. 
Must have been very frustrating for all involved that these performances hadn't been heard by a wider audience until now, especially on tracks like 'Fantasy' featuring Gina Foster (who went onto we a busy backing singer with Swing Out Sister) and 'Without You In My Life' featuring Delores (who we know nothing about).

'Show Me the Way' (featuring Mark Antonio) and 'Do What We Gotta Do' (featuring Delroy Dyer & Gina Foster) both could have been big singles even as they are now with the endearing lo-fi production; what would they have been like with the big Soul II Soul production?

It's now difficult to believe how big Soul II Soul were at one stage, even opening their own fashion shop outlet in Camden High Street at one stage (it didn't last long) but certainly indicating how much Jazzy B believed in his project; if not Clarke's. 

But at least when we now 'Guess Who' we know it's Rick Clarke and fair play to Freestyle Records for giving it a proper release and not trying to re-record it as it'll always sound unique.

Artist: Rick Clarke
Title: Guess Who
Catalog Number : FSRLP 142
Label : Freestyle Records
Format: LP / Digital
Release Date : 7th April, 2023


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